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Tag:Nelson Cruz
Posted on: August 27, 2011 1:44 am
Edited on: August 27, 2011 1:45 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Capuano dazzles in career game

Capuano

By Evan Brunell

3 UpChris Capuano, Mets: It was a game for the ages for Capuano, who threw a complete game shutout while punching out a career-high 13, limiting the Braves to just two hits and zero walks. It was just the second loss in nine games for Atlanta, throwing 122 pitches in the effort. Capuano had a perfect game through five until Dan Uggla singled to break it up. The lefty had two good seasons for the Brewers back in 2005-06, but missed two seasons starting in 2008, and only tallied up 66 innings last year before moving to the Mets, where he's had a bounceback year with 154 1/3 innings with a 4.43 ERA. Capuano isn't a great pitcher, but he's a capable back-of-the-rotation starter that's providing value to New York at minimal cost.

James Shields, Rays: While James Shields won't win the Cy Young Award, he's making a bid to finish pretty high up in the standings, as he blew away the Royals, allowing just one run in a complete game, whiffing 12 to give him 192 on the year. His ERA is down to 2.96 in 201 innings and set a prestigious record for being the first pitcher to register at least 10 complete games in a season since CC Sabathia in 2008 between the Indians and Brewers. It's also just the second time it's happened since 2000, so Shields has accomplished something quite remarkable.

Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Cruz was a beast Friday, allowing the Rangers to take a three-game lead in the AL West. He slammed two home runs and doubles apiece to grab his 27th and 28th of the year, chipping in six RBI to push up to 84 and added three runs on a monstrous 4-for-5 night. He's now hitting .265/.318/.528 on the year, but August hasn't been kind to Cruz thus far. This game snaps a 4-for-23 skid.



3 DownRoy Oswalt, Phillies:  In Oswalt's last start, he had an outing worthy of landing on the 3 Up. But Friday, he had nothing against Florida, giving up five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, coughing up 12 hits while allowing a walk and striking out just two. "It was pretty much one bad pitch," Oswalt told the Associated Press, referring to Marlins catcher John Buck's grand slam . "[It was] a slider that didn't do what I wanted it to do." Oswalt was surprisingly booed by his home crowd, and now has a 3.77 ERA on the year. He's been touch and go ever since missing over a month with a back injury, and this was just one of these days where nothing quite worked.

A.J. Burnett, Yankees: What can you say about A.J. Burnett these days? His ERA is now 11.91 in August after giving up nine runs in five innings against the Orioles. He also racked up nine hits allowed. That August ERA is pretty bad, but so is his ERA in the second half of the year: 8.64. Phil Hughes isn't exactly doing a great job forcing the issue, but the Yankees need to skip Burnett in the rotation and put him on layaway for a bit. It's time for drastic measures, as nothing is working. Give Hughes a few turns through, and then re-evaluate things. If New York wants Burnett locked in for the postseason, a breather may be the best thing at this point.

Jose Constanza, Braves: Even through the hubbub around manager Fredi Gonzalez sitting Jason Heyward in favor for Constanza, everyone seemed to realize the benching would only be temporary. Eventually Constanza would cool off after a scorching start. Well, after going 0 for 3 with a strikeout against the Mets, it dropped his average to .173 over the last 23 at-bats. The cooling off is starting and should eventually result in Heyward returning to full-time play. Just in time for the postseason, too.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 1:47 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Boomstick produces 8 RBI

Nelson Cruz

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Cruz had a career-high eight RBI in Texas' 12-2 victory over the Blue Jays. Each of Cruz's four at-bats resulted in runs scoring. He had an RBI single in the second, a three-run homer in the fourth, a two-run single in the fifth and another in the sixth. Cruz had just one RBI in his previous 11 games

Dan Uggla, Braves: As pinch hitter in the ninth inning, Uggla hit a 3-2 fastball from Nick Masset into the seats to break a tie against Cincinnati, leading the Braves to a 6-4 victory. Uggla has struggled mightily this season, but is starting to come on this month. In July, he's now hitting .279/.362/.639 with six homers and 12 RBI. It was Uggla's first career pinch-hit home run and the seventh homer in the game.

David Wright, Mets: In his first plate appearance in more than two months, Wright hit a double to drive in Justin Turner and give the Mets an early lead over the Marlins, later scoring the team's third run. In his fifth and final at-bat of the day, Wright's eighth-inning double scored Turner again to give the Mets the lead for good. His run on Daniel Murphy's double ended up as the deciding run of the team's 7-6 victory at Florida.


Dusty Baker, Reds: In the second inning of the Reds' eventual 6-4 loss to the Braves, Dusty Baker called for a suicide squeeze. Problem was it was a 2-2 count and Miguel Cairo had to try to bunt a ball that was way low and outside and was only able to foul it off, resulting in the second out of the inning. After an intentional walk to Ryan Hanigan, Bronson Arroyo struck out with the runner still at third. Baker said he thought the scoreboard was wrong and the count was 3-1.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics: Rough night for the A's right-hander at Yankee Stadium, where he gave up nine hits and 10 runs -- all earned -- in two-plus innings. With the outing, Cahill saw his ERA go from  3.16 to 3.77. Cahill pitched to five batters in the Yankees' nine-run third inning, exiting after a Eduardo Nunez singled to put two on with no outs and already three runs in. Michael Wuertz came in and allowed both runners to score before giving up a grand slam that belonged all to him.  Cahill started the season 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his first eight starts. Since then, he's 2-9 with a 5.35 ERA. The A's have now lost 11 straight to the Yankees.

Phil Hughes, Yankees: Easily lost in the slew of Yankees runs, right-hander Phil Hughes wasn't very good either. In his third start since coming off the disabled list, Hughes struggled, getting pulled after just 4 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs, walking four. Hughes had allowed four runs and 10 hits through 11 innings in his first two starts since coming off the DL.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Rangers murderer's row paces AL West All-Stars

By C. Trent Rosecrans

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | NL East | NL Central | NL West

The American League West may be able to put together the best rotation in baseball, but putting together a lineup from players just from the division is a little tougher. Of the four teams in the division, only the Rangers are better than league average in runs (455), on-base percentage (.332), OPS (.788) and home runs (111). That makes it no surprise that our lineup for the American League West All-Star team has a heavy Ranger lean, as five of the nine position players are from Texas, including the heart of the order from No. 3 to No. 7 in the lineup.

Kurt SuzukiC Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: There are some serious slim pickings in this category, with the only real choice coming between the A's Suzuki and Seattle's Miguel Olivo. Neither was considered a snub when the All-Star team was announced, and for good reason. Suzuki is hitting .224/.291/.342, while Olivo is hitting .223/.265/.392. Olivo does have 12 home runs and 40 RBI, but I just could justify putting someone with a .265 on-base percentage on any time of All-Star team. Suzuki also brings top-flight defense, so he gets the nod.

Mitch Moreland1B Mitch Moreland, Rangers: This is an intriguing group of young first basemen. The preseason pick would have been Daric Barton, but he's now in the minor leagues. The Angels' Mark Trumbo (.259/.303/.474) and Mariners' Justin Smoak (.232/.330/.423)are starting to put up some good numbers, but the pick here is Moreland (.279/.341/.458), whose average numbers are better, even if his counting stats aren't up to the other two. The difference is small enough to go with the Moreland.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Howard Kendrick ANA 2B
2 Peter Bourjos ANA CF
3 Josh Hamilton TEX LF
4 Michael Young TEX DH
5 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B
6 Nelson Cruz TEX RF
7 Mitch Moreland TEX 1B
8 Kurt Suzuki OAK C
9 Elvis Andrus TEX SS

Howie Kendrick2B Howard Kendrick, Angels: Finally, a real-live All-Star. The 27-year-old Kendrick is making his first All-Star appearance, hitting .305/.361/.466 with eight home runs and 29 RBI. A very good defensive second baseman, he also adds value by being able to play all over the diamond. He's started games at second base, left field and first base this season and has also started one game in his career at third base.

Adrian Beltre3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers: You can argue he's not worth the five-year, $80 million contract given to him by the Rangers, but it's tough to argue that he's not the best third baseman in the division. Hitting .272/.314/.492 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI, plus exceptional defense, the choice here is clear.

Elvis AndrusSS Elvis Andrus, Rangers: You're not going to confuse Andrus with Cal Ripken Jr. or Alex Rodriguez anytime soon, but the smooth-fielding shortstop is getting on base at a .332 clip and also has 26 stolen bases. Erick Aybar is equal with Andrus in batting average (.283) and better slugging (.431), but lower on-base percentage (.316). I'll take Andrus' glove, as well, so he gets the call.

Josh HamiltonLF Josh Hamilton, Rangers: Hamilton missed 36 games after suffering a broken bone in his shoulder in April, but he's still accumulated 11 home runs to go along with 49 RBI and a line of .305/.359/.549. While Hamilton's played all over the outfield, he's started the most games in left, and that's probably the best spot for him. And he's certainly the best choice in the division.

Peter BourjosCF Peter Bourjos, Angels: Although he's currently hobbled by tightness in his right hamstring, Bourjos is the class of AL West center fielders, hitting .272/.323/.397. He also covers a ton of ground, which helps in this division that features some spacious ballparks. 

Nelson CruzRF Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Like Hamilton, the Rangers right fielder has missed a good chunk of games with a trip to the disabled list in May, but he's still hit 20 home runs and knocked in 55. His .293 on-base percentage is lower than you'd like to see, but his slugging (.520) makes up for it. He beats out Torii Hunter who has a slightly better on-base percentage, much better defense, but pales in comparison in slugging.

Michael YoungDH Michael Young, Rangers: The Rangers sure are glad they didn't heed Young's trade request this offseason. Filling in at various spots in the field for injured Rangers, he's also taken to the designated hitter spot without a hiccup. Young is hitting .326/.360/.486 with eight home runs and 59 RBI. He's also played 25 games at first base, 11 at second base and four at third, while the bulk of his playing time has come as a DH.

Jered WeaverSP Jered Weaver, Angels: Starting pitching is probably the deepest category in this division -- and looking at the starting pitching across the AL West may help explain the tough time finding offensive standouts (or it could be vice-versa, though I'll stick with the pitching in this division). Weaver gets the nod with a record of  11-4 and a 1.86 ERA. He's struck out 120 in 140 1/3 innings and walked just 31. Weaver lost his arbitration case with the Angels this year, he'll have a pretty good case this offseason, going into his last arbitration year. Apologies to Dan Haren (10-5, 2.61), Felix Hernandez (8-7, 3.19), C.J. Wilson (9-3, 3.20), Michael Pineda (8-6, 3.03) and Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 2.47).

Scott DownsMR Scott Downs, Angels: The 35-year-old Downs has been around so long that he's a former Expo, but he's maybe having his best season yet. Signed by the Angels this offseason, he's produced for his new team, going 5-2 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 20 in 29 2/3 innings. He gets the nod over A's side-armer Brad Ziegler (2-1, 1.78).

Jordan WaldenCL Jordan Walden, Angels: The All-Star picked up his 20th save of the season on Sunday, closing out the Angels' victory over the Mariners by striking out the only batter he faced. His ERA is down to 2.84 and has 40 strikeouts in 37 innings, while walking 17. Brandon League is also an All-Star and his 23 saves lead the American League. His lower strikeouts and higher ERA are the reason Walden gets the nod, even though the Angel has two more blown saves than League.

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 2:27 pm
 

Rangers interested in Mets' K-Rod, Beltran

Carlos Beltran

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Rangers have been on record as looking for bullpen help, and the Mets could be a possible trade partner, SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets.

Heyman notes the Rangers have expressed interest in both Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran and closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Last week Rodriguez noted he'd be fine moving into a setup role for a team that'll be in the playoff hunt, and the first-place Rangers (in a pretty weak division) certainly qualify in that regard.

More interesting is Beltran, who hasn't played center field this season. Last year he started 58 games in center, only to be replaced this season by Angel Pagan. Josh Hamilton has started nine games in center this season and 29 a year ago.

While Hamilton and Nelson Cruz have spent time on the disabled list, the other Rangers outfielders have gotten opportunities, but nobody's taken ahold of it. David Murphy is hitting .233/.310/.317 with four home runs in 226 plate appearances, while his OPS has dropped 179 points from last season. He's played mostly left this season but also center and right. 

The Rangers used three different starters in center field in this past weekend's series against the Mets. Hamilton started there Friday; Craig Gentry started Saturday; and former Met Endy Chavez started Sunday. Add to that, the player who has started the most games in center for the Rangers is Julio Borbon.

Besides Hamilton, of the other three, Chavez is the only one that has a homer (two) this season. All have respectable splits, but none has a long-term track record, much less one that compares to Beltran's.

Beltran is in the final year of his seven-year, $119 million deal with the Mets. He's making $18.5 million this season and has a full no-trade clause.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 4:03 pm
 

AL All-Star balloting update: Bautista tops all



By Matt Snyder


Tuesday, Major League Baseball unveiled the first update on the All-Star balloting for the National League, so Wednesday we found out the American League update. Needless to say, non-Yankees fans won't be happy, but we'll get to that in a second. The big story is that the fans nailed the top overall vote-getter (that goes for both leagues). Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays leads the majors in runs, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS-plus and total bases. You can add top vote-getter to the list for now, because he's gathered 1,261,659 votes. If this holds, he'd become the first Blue Jays player ever to receive the most votes and the first to start the game since Carlos Delgado in 2003.

As things stand now, here are the would-be AL starters: Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson -- yes, those are actually the leaders in votes; I didn't accidentally start listing the Yankees' starters -- Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (DH).

So, yeah. Six Yankees starters if this was the final version. Here are some observations:

- Asdrubal Cabrera trails Jeter by about 260,000 votes at short. I guess I'm not shocked for several reasons. First of all, the voting began pretty early in the season and Cabrera was a relative unknown when it started. Secondly, you have Jeter and the whole chase for 3,000 hits thing going on. Third, it's the Yankees. If this is a lifetime achievement thing, OK, but if we're looking at just 2011, it's egregious. Cabrera's been the big offensive force for the most surprising team in baseball -- one that has the best record in the AL.

- Teixeira's having a big power year and him starting the game wouldn't be completely undeserved, but I'd rather go with Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera there. If you have a problem with Cabrera's off-field issues in the spring, well, vote for Gonzalez or Tex.

- Third could shape up to be a real good battle between A-Rod, Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis -- who were all probably helped by the injury to Evan Longoria.

- Martin is the correct selection behind the plate. Oh, and Joe Mauer's second in voting (tsk, tsk).

- Granderson certainly deserves to start and Cano probably does as well. So Yankees haters need to lay off these guys.

- The outfield voting isn't awesome, that's for sure. Hamilton has been hurt most of the season and sits third. Matt Joyce isn't even in the top 15, nor are Carlos Quentin, Adam Jones, Michael Brantley or Alex Gordon. But Ichiro Suzuki, Nelson Cruz and Carl Crawford are all in contention.

View the full voting results by clicking here.

There are obviously a lot more issues, but it's the initial ballot release and many of the votes were cast when it was released without having a good grasp of how the 2011 season would turn out. Fortunately, there's still time to support your guys and rectify any problems you might have. Voting doesn't end until the end of June.

Click here to cast an online ballot.

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 6:08 pm
 

On Deck: Stars return



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chase UtleyUTLEY'S BACK -- The Phillies have been searching for offense and hope that Chase Utley on a (hopefully) healthy knee can provide it. Over the last nine games, the Phillies have lost six and been outscored 25-15. They're batting just .171 with nine extra-base hits and haven't scored more than three runs in any of those games. Only four National League teams have scored fewer runs than the Phillies' 176 this season, while the team is below league average in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Utley hit .281/.361/.438 in 32 at-bats at Class A Clearwater on his rehab assignment. Reds at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Josh HamiltonNelson CruzRangers RETURN -- While the Phillies are getting just one player back, the Rangers return the middle of their order with Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz coming off the disabled list. The Rangers lost three of their last four (including two to Philadelphia), while scoring just five runs in that span. Hamilton is back hitting third, and Cruz will be batting sixth. Texas was 9-1 before the April 12 game in Detroit where Hamilton broke a bone in his right arm on a headfirst slide at home. White Sox at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Justin MastersonFAMILIAR FACE -- The Indians got right-hander Justin Masterson from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade. While Martinez is back in the AL Central, Masterson is actualizing his vast potential and helping lead the Indians to the majors' best record. Masterson is 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA (and a 3.31 xFIP). Masterson has faced his former teammates twice since being traded, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Red Sox. He faces Clay Buchholz, who has been fantastic in May, going 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in four starts this month. Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: May 22, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Hamilton, Cruz on tap to return Monday



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Looks like Chase Utley isn't the only star returning to majors on Monday -- Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz will likely return to the Rangers lineup, manager Ron Washington said before Sunday's game.

"If they make it out of [Triple-A] Round Rock tonight and they show up at the ballpark tomorrow … damn right, they're going to be in that lineup," Washington told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Both have been at Triple-A Round Rock this weekend after spending time at Double-A Frisco. Both homered on Saturday for Round Rock. Hamilton is 4 for 14 with two walks and two homers in four games in the minors, while Cruz is 6 for 19 with one walk and two homers in five minor-league games.

Round Rock plays Colorado Springs today at 2:05 p.m. ET. The Rangers return from Philadelphia on Monday for a six-game homestand against the White Sox and Royals.

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:22 am
 

Hamilton homers in rehab assignment

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh HamiltonJosh Hamilton homered in his return to baseball, a rehab assignment with the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders on Wednesday night.

Hamilton, who hasn't played since April 13 when he suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right humerus, went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer in his second at-bat of the game. He also singled in the fifth inning.

Hamilton served as the team's designated hitter on Wednesday and he's expected to play another game for Frisco before playing this weekend for Triple-A Round Rock this weekend and joining the Rangers on Monday.

His Rangers teammate, Nelson Cruz, was 0 for 4 on Wednesday in the third game of his rehab assignment.

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